Bent is hoping a season’s loan to Fulham will reignite his career and give him a platform to leap back into the England squad after a disastrous final season at Villa.

Bent’s decline was rapid following the arrival of Christian Benteke last August and he became not even sure of a place on the bench as Lambert looked to ease one of his top earners off the wage bill.
Unsurprisingly when they met in May both agreed it was best for the 29-year-old to look for another club but Lambert ensured there was no chance he would change his mind when he returned for pre-season training.

Bent was kicked out of the first-team dressing room told to empty his locker ordered to train with the youth team and informed he would not be picked for any games if he stayed to fight for his place. It was a hardline stance even though nobody was willing to match their £6 million asking price that shocked Bent and it will be difficult not to hold a grudge.

“It’s been a long long summer” said Bent who moved to Villa from Sunderland for a club record £18 million in January 2011. “There’s been a lot of speculation about where I was going to go and where I was going to play my football but it was Fulham who did the most work in getting me to the club and that’s why I’m their player.